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Maternal investment: sex differences in avian yolk hormone levels

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Marion Petrie


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It has been suggested that female birds put more resources into eggs fathered by attractive males by laying larger eggs or by adding more testosterone, but this inference could be undermined if eggs of different sex are provisioned differently, as these studies did not control for sex differences. Here we compare hormone concentrations in the yolks of male and female eggs and find that these are significantly different. Our results indicate that it is premature to conclude that female birds invest more in eggs sired by a preferred male, and raise the possibility that yolk sex steroids may be part of the sex-determining process in birds.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Petrie M, Schwabl H, Brande-Lavridsen N, Burke T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature

Year: 2001

Volume: 412

Issue: 6846

Pages: 498-499

ISSN (print): 0028-0836

ISSN (electronic): 1476-4687

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/35087652

PubMed id: 11484039


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